WordPress is an incredibly versatile platform that allows users to create a range of site models to fit the needs of their business. If you’re trying to monetize your page, one of its most useful capabilities is the option of adding an eCommerce plugin to your site.
While this may seem like an obvious step for those trying to move merchandise online, there are many elements to WordPress eCommerce that are important to consider before making any commitments.
How Diverse Is My Product Catalog?
It’s worth noting that WordPress is not, in fact, a dedicated eCommerce catalog. There is a limit to the amount and variety of products it will allow you to host. Although many of the top plugins claim they can support thousands of items, the likelihood is you’ll lose performance quality that would be easier to maintain on an eCommerce-specific site.
On the other hand, if you are a blogger or website owner who is looking to generate more income by hosting the sale of a few specific items, it makes much more sense to stick with WordPress and simply add a plugin. Doing this allows you to retain your followers and guarantees an immediate audience for your products as they already have a vested interest in your brand.
This checklist provides questions to ask yourself when making this decision:
- How many products am I aiming to sell?
- How much variation (color, size, etc.) exists in my catalog?
- Do I already have an established web domain?
- Do I want to focus on site content or product marketing?
- How many visitors do I get on a regular basis?
How Large Is My Following?
It may seem obvious, but consider the size of your online fan base before deciding whether it’s time to commit to eCommerce. The more followers you have, the better your return. Then consider at what point do you decide you have too few followers to make it worthwhile?
Essentially you need to ensure you aren’t getting fewer views than you would if you opted for an eCommerce-specific platform. The benefit of using sites such as Etsy is that they already have a reputation for selling and are set up so you receive internal views from other users as well. On Etsy you can get anywhere from 150 to over 1,000 views a day. Look at the average number of daily visitors for your WordPress site. Perform a quick comparison to decide which is the best option for you.
Do I Have the Security to Keep Payments Protected?
Once you enter the realm of eCommerce, security becomes a much more poignant worry. This is because you are not just responsible for your own sensitive data, but you’re also taking on the details of all your customers. If a malicious hacker finds its way into the mix, then you could be held responsible for failing to ensure protection.
While many WordPress eCommerce plugins provide a significant level of security regarding access from the website itself, there is still the possibility of cybercriminals gaining entry via your admin panel if your own personal security practices are subpar.
These few points will help you stay protected:
- Invest in a good quality security suite
- Be stringent about links you click and services you sign up for
- Update all software as soon a new version is released
- Optimize your passwords and change them regularly
- Be strict about who has access to your machine and account
- Employ systems for staying safe while on the go
This final point is perhaps one of the most important on the list, although most online professionals often overlook it. The reality is that while it provides an unavoidable convenience, public WiFi is a hotbed for hackers. Because the networks are open, it means your data can fly around unprotected and can, subsequently, be intercepted by malicious users.
The best way to overcome this is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which will encrypt your information and allow you to browse securely. This Secure Thoughts article provides more information on VPNs and which would work best for your eCommerce site.
Do I Need a Developer?
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, it’s essential to establish whether you would require bringing a developer on board or whether this is something you have the technical savvy to manage by yourself. In theory, WordPress can be used without having a developer; themes can be installed, and minor edits to code prove no major challenge.
However, if you want to customize heavily or tweak what your website visitors see on screen, then it’s often best to opt for professional help. When it comes to eCommerce, there are so many aspects that require variation. For example, a site that sells T-shirts is going to look very different from a site selling photography prints.
If you’re not a developer yourself, then this is where it’s time to look for an extra set of hands to help you with the details. Before you decide to commit to WordPress eCommerce, establish whether you are going to require hiring another person and whether or not you have the funds to afford it.
WordPress eCommerce is a fantastically useful tool that can transform your website and open up endless avenues of potential, but this doesn’t mean it’s always the best choice. Take some time to consider these above questions before committing to choosing this route for online sales for your company.